Although his career has never reached the heights it seemed destined for after he won his first Daytona 500 one day after turning 20 years old, there has always been a hope that Trevor Bayne’s NASCAR career would not be one that peaked early. Now, at nearly 31 years old, Bayne is making his return after a year out of the driver’s seat with another opportunity to drive for one of NASCAR’s top teams.
During Wednesday’s broadcast of NASCAR Race Hub on FS1, Trevor Bayne announced that he has signed with Joe Gibbs Racing to run seven races during the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season behind the wheel of the team’s No. 18 Toyota. Bayne’s seven races will be at Auto Club Speedway, Phoenix Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Homestead-Miami Speedway with sponsorship from Devotion Nutrition.
Bayne will make his return to NASCAR after spending both the 2019 and 2021 seasons out of racing while pursuing a career as the owner of Mahalo Coffee Roasters in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. Bayne’s last NASCAR action came toward the end of the 2020 season, where he ran eight Camping World Truck Series races for Niece Motorsports.
“I don’t really have a goal of full-time next year or anything like that,” Bayne told Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports. “My goal is to go win — I’m not going to say seven out of seven races — but if we could win three to five or six of these things, that would be amazing, you know?”
Bayne’s NASCAR career has been a fairly disjointed one: He became the youngest winner in the history of the Daytona 500 in 2011, pulling off a historic upset in just his second Cup Series start. But a combination of sponsorship issues, personal health issues, and the decline of what is now RFK Racing prevented him from reaching his potential. Bayne earned two career wins in the Xfinity Series and finished sixth in points twice, but was not competitive in three full-time Cup seasons from 2015 to 2017 before being demoted to a timeshare with Matt Kenseth midway through 2018.
After losing his ride with Roush, Bayne went into the coffee business while remaining involved in NASCAR through television work. Late in 2020, Bayne got the opportunity to drive for Niece Motorsports in the Truck Series, where he posted two top-10 finishes in eight starts and came inches away from winning a race at Talladega Superspeedway.
In joining Gibbs, Bayne will be one of the drivers of the No. 18 Toyota, which won last year’s Xfinity Series championship with Daniel Hemric behind the wheel. Bayne’s teammates are expected to be Ty Gibbs and Brandon Jones, and there is reportedly a possibility of Bayne running additional races depending on sponsorship.